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Corregidora by Gayl Jones. New York. 1975. Random House. 186 pages. March 1975. hardcover. 0394493230. Jacket design by Wendell Minor.

 

0394493230FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Ursa Corregidora is lucky. She can sing her terror and her longing in a Kentucky café. She is less helpless then, and less bedeviled. But there is no song to numb her - to help her forget that the fruits of her marriage were violence and sterility; that she cannot live up to the single responsibility demanded of her by the three generations of Corregidora women who preceded her: to ‘make generations’; to keep the corruption of their line intact. There is no song anywhere in the world that can help her forget Corregidora, the Portuguese who fathered his own slaves, his own concubines, his own prostitutes. Ursa is the last of these women, the only one of the line with a different father. And now her past, in which lust and hatred walked arm in arm, is indistinguishable from a present clouded with lovelessness and despair. For there is an uneasy similarity between Corregidora, Ursa’s demonic white ancestor, and the Black men who ‘love’ her. From a nineteenth-century Brazilian plantation to Bracktown, Kentucky, author Gayl Jones takes us on a strange journey: that of a Black woman trying to come to terms with womanhood in a haunted world, and managing at last to avenge not only Corregidora’s women but every abused Black woman that ever lived. This is a chilling story written with almost embarrassing power. ‘Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of Jones Gaylwhat has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women.’ —James Baldwin.

 

 

 

Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University, and has taught a Wellesley College and the University of Michigan. Her other books include THE HEALING (1998 National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and many others.

 

 

 

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Eva's Man by Gayl Jones. New York. 1976. Random House. 179 pages. March 1976. hardcover. 0394499344. Jacket design and illustration by Wendell Minor.

 

0394499344FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Sitting in a prison cell—talking to a cellmate, a psychiatrist, herself, us - Eva Medina Canada is trying to remember it all, to keep memory separate from fantasy. But it is not easy. For a woman with no man and no money has to live in the streets, and there men treat you like a street-woman. There, rankness is the norm and male assumptions are devastatingly raw. Every look, whisper, shout and touch is a violent sexual attack. It is a world where access to a comb, a telephone can become the ultimate symbol of civilization and of human caring. And even before the streets, when Eva was just a child, there was the casual male cruelty of Mr. Logan in the stairwell, of Freddy with his popsicle stick, of Cousin Alfonso; of a husband three times her age; and the man with no thumb. But what is even harder to remember is the reason she is in prison - the five days she spent in a rented room with Davis. And the consequences of those days. Damaged, terrorized and lonely, this solitary woman - weary of sexual contempt and the effort needed to hope - is driven over the line, where murder seems the only shelter. She is mistaken. There is no shelter from the widow’s eyes, from dreams, from Elvira. With the same eerie power that Jones Gaylexcited reviewers of CORREGIDORA, Gayl Jones has written another sensual, brooding and magnificent novel. 'An American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the blood.' --John Updike, The New Yorker.

 

 

Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University, and has taught a Wellesley College and the University of Michigan. Her other books include THE HEALING (1998 National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and many others.

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Solve It by G. Polya. Garden City. 1957. Anchor/Doubleday. A93. 253 pages. Cover by George Giusti.Typography By Edward Gorey.

 

anchor how to solve it a93FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

    Heuristic - the study of the methods and rules of discovery and invention - has until our time been a largely neglected, almost forgotten, branch of learning. The disputed province of logic or philosophy or psychology, it tries to understand the process of solving problems and its typical mental operations. Today heuristic is undergoing a revival whose impetus *’ is provided largely by Professor G. Polya’s unique HOW TO SOLVE IT, the outstanding modern contribution to the study of problem solving. Though Professor Polya, an eminent mathematician, uses specific examples taken largely from geometry, his principal aim is to teach a method which can be applied to the solution of other problems, more or less technical. The particular solution of a particular problem is, for his purposes, of minor importance. The approach used in heuristic reasoning is constant regardless of its subject, and can be expressed in simple but incisive questions: ‘What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? Do you know a related problem?’ Deftly, Polya the teacher shows us how to strip away the irrelevancies which clutter our thinking and guides us toward a clear and productive habit of mind. The ‘Short Dictionary of Heuristic’ Polya Gincluded in How TO SOLVE IT supplies the history, techniques, and terminology of heuristic with brilliant precision, and there is a concluding section of nineteen Problems, Hints, and Solutions.

 

 

George Pólya (December 13, 1887 – September 7, 1985) was a Hungarian mathematician. He was a professor of mathematics from 1914 to 1940 at ETH Zürich and from 1940 to 1953 at Stanford University. He made fundamental contributions to combinatorics, number theory, numerical analysis and probability theory. He is also noted for his work in heuristics and mathematics education.

 

 

 

 

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The Collected Works Of Jane Bowles by Jane Bowles. New York. 1966. Farrar Straus Giroux. Introduction by Truman Capote. 431 pages. Jacket design by Ronald Clyne.

 

collected works of jane bowlesFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

     Jane Bowles has for many years had an underground reputation as one of the truly original writers of the twentieth century. This collection of expertly crafted short fiction will fully acquaint all students and scholars with the author Tennessee Williams called the most important writer of prose fiction in modern American letters. The works here include a novel "Two Serious Ladies", a play "In the Summer House", and seven short stories never before printed in book form, bearing the over-all title "Plain Pleasures".

 

 

 

Bowles JaneJane Bowles (born Jane Sydney Auer; February 22, 1917 – May 4, 1973) was an American writer and playwright. Born into a Jewish family in New York, Jane Bowles spent her childhood in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island. She developed tuberculous arthritis of the knee as a teenager and her mother took her to Switzerland for treatment, where she attended boarding school. As a teenager she returned to New York, where she gravitated to the intellectual bohemia of Greenwich Village. She married writer and composer Paul Bowles in 1938. In 1943 her novel Two Serious Ladies was published. The Bowleses lived in New York until 1947, when Paul moved to Tangier, Morocco; Jane followed him in 1948. While in Morocco, Jane had an intense and complicated relationship with a Moroccan woman named Cherifa. She also had a close relationship with torch singer Libby Holman. Jane Bowles wrote the play In The Summer House, which was performed on Broadway in 1953 to mixed reviews. Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and John Ashbery considered her to be one of the finest and most underrated writers of American fiction. Bowles, who suffered from alcoholism, had a stroke in 1957 at age 40. Her health continued to decline, despite various treatments in England and the United States, until she had to be admitted to a clinic in Málaga, Spain, where she died in 1973.

 

 

 

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Dr. Futurity by Philip K. Dick. New York. 1960. Ace Books. Paperback Original. Bound As An Ace Double With SLAVERS OF SPACE by John Brunner. D-421. 138 pages.

 

ace dr futurity d 421FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

    DR. FUTURITY is a 1960 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick. It is an expansion of his earlier short story ‘Time Pawn‘, which first saw publication in the summer 1954 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. DR. FUTURITY was first published as a novel by Ace Books as one half of Ace Double D-421, bound together with John Brunner's SLAVERS OF SPACE. Dr. Jim Parsons is a doctor from 2012, born in 1980. Abruptly, he undergoes involuntary time travel to 2405 CE, and finds that his profession is treated with disdain. In the future, the population is static, with no natural births; only a death can cause the formation of a new embryo. The result is a society ambivalent toward death, as controlled genetics ensures that each successive generation better benefits the human race as a whole. By killing off the weak, poverty and disease are eliminated, and humanity has an optimal chance for survival. Moreover, a single race derived from African Americans and Native Americans controls this future world, as caucasians have been wiped out or integrated centuries earlier. After Parsons cures a dying woman (not knowing that this is considered a heinous crime in this time period), Chancellor Al Stenog exiles him to Mars, but the spaceship is intercepted en route, and Parsons is returned to a deserted Earth far in the future. On finding a marker with instructions on how to operate the time travel controls on the spaceship, he is directed to a Native American-style tribal lodge, where he must perform surgery to save the life of a wounded time traveler, Corith, after the latter had previously died from an arrow wound. Parsons extracts the arrow, but it later mysteriously rematerializes in Corith's body. To resolve this situation, Parsons and Corith's relatives travel back to Corith's previous assignment in 1579 on the Pacific Coast of North America, where Corith was to kill Sir Francis Drake, in order to change history and preserve the Native American way of life, avoiding their subjugation by European colonial powers. While observing the assassination attempt on Drake, Parsons realizes that Drake is actually Chancellor Stenog, who is lying in wait for Corith. Parsons tries to warn Corith, but Corith discovers that Parsons is white and attacks him. In the ensuing struggle, Parsons inadvertently stabs Corith through the heart with one of the arrows that were meant for Drake. In retribution, Parsons is left stranded by Corith's relatives in 1597, a time in which the European explorers had departed. Parsons is rescued by Loris, Corith's daughter, when she learns that she will have Parson's child in the future. While briefly back in 2405, Parsons realizes that the reason the arrow mysteriously reappeared in Corith's chest after he'd removed it was because he had murdered him for a second time to cover his tracks. If Corith were to recover, he would have revealed that it was Parsons who killed him, and an unwitting Parsons from slightly earlier would have been left helpless at the hands Corith's relatives. As he stands over Corith, ready to kill him for a second time, he decides against it and tries to flee. But before he can do so, two people appear in the room from the future and kill Corith with the second arrow to the heart. Parsons quickly realizes that the murderers are the children he had with Loris, traveling back to 2405 from an even more distant future. His children take Parsons forward in time to meet with Loris again, and he struggles with the decision to return to 2012. Eventually, he does, back to the same day that he left and to the doting wife who saw him off earlier that morning. He sets about his old life, with a new task at hand. The novel closes with him constructing the stone marker that will eventually save his life on that desolate future Earth.

 

 

Dick Philip KPhilip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick's thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS. The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. ‘I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,’ Dick wrote of these stories. ‘In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.’ In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna. New York. 2006. Atlantic Monthly Press. 323 pages. Jacket art by Bruno Barbier/Robert Harding. 0871139448. September 2006.

 

0871139448FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   ‘Abie has followed the arc of a letter from London back to Africa, to the coffee groves of Kholifa Estates, the plantation formerly owned by her grandfather. It is a place she remembers from childhood and which now belongs to her - if she wants it. Standing among the ruined groves she strains to hear the sound of the past, but the ‘layers of years’ in between then and now are too many. So begins her gathering of the family’s history through the tales of her aunts.’ ‘This is the story of four lives: Asana, Mariama, Hawa and Serah Kholifa, born to the different wives of a wealthy plantation owner in an Africa where change is just beginning to arrive. Asana, lost twin and head-wife’s daughter. Hawa, motherless child and manipulator of her own misfortune. Mariama, who sees what lies beyond this world. And Serah, follower of a Western-made dream.’ Stretching across generations and set against the backdrop of a country’s descent into freefall, ANCESTOR STONES is a novel about understanding the past and how stories ancient and new Forna AminattaAminatta Forna is also the author of ANCESTOR STONES, a novel, and THE DEVIL THAT DANCED ON THE WATER, a memoir of her activist father, and her country, Sierra Leone.shape who we become, and one which offers a different way of seeing the world we share. It is the story of a nation, a family and four women’s attempts quietly to alter the course of their own destiny.

 

 

Aminatta Forna is also the author of ANCESTOR STONES, a novel, and THE DEVIL THAT DANCED ON THE WATER, a memoir of her activist father, and her country, Sierra Leone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harmless Poisons, Blameless Sins by Mohammed Mrabet. Santa Barbara. 1976. Black Sparrow Press. Taped and Translated from the Moghrebi by Paul Bowles. 105 pages. 0876852746.

 

0876852746FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   During his childhood Mrabet listened to traditional story tellers in Tangier´s cafés - a world that fascinated him. Later on he would invent his own stories, and Paul Bowles taped and transcribed his stories. Mrabet´s first novel Love with a Few Hairs was published 1967 in London by Peter Owen, followed two years later with The Lemon. Since then, seventeen books written by Mohammed Mrabet have been published and his works have been translated into twelve languages. Henry Miller wrote: ‘Mrabet sees what it means to work simply and tellingly. His writing is quite unique and an inspiration not only to young writers but to veterans too. He has found the secret of communicating on all levels.’ The language of Mrabet is a maze like the thousand alleys of the Medina - seductive, but dangerous - without a guide one is lost in suggestions and allusions. His culture does not lend itself to our limited rational thought - the only way is by feeling into it, not thinking.

 

 

 

Mrabet MohammedMohammed Mrabet (real name Mohammed ben Chaib el Hajjem), born on March 8, 1936, is a Moroccan author artist and storyteller of Berber heritage from the Beni Ouraaghil tribe in the Rifian Mountains. Mrabet is mostly known in the West through his association with Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Tennessee Williams. Mrabet is an artist of intricate, yet colorful, felt tip and ink drawings in the style of Paul Masson or a more depressive, horror-show Jean Miro, which have been shown at various galleries in Europe and America. Mrabet's art work is his own: very loud and intricate, yet comparable with that of his contemporary, Jillali Gharbaoui (1930-1971). Mrabet is increasingly being recognized as an important member of a small group of Moroccan Master Painters who emerged in the immediate post Colonial period and his works have become highly sought after, mostly by European collectors. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oriental Tales by Marguerite Yourcenar. New York. 1985. Farrar Straus Giroux. 147 pages. hardcover. 0374227284. Jacket painting by Tao-chi (1641-ca. 1710), from ‘Returning Home.’ Jacket design by Cynthia Krupat.

 

0374227284FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Legends caught in flight, fables, allegories - these ten ORIENTAL TALES form a singular edifice in the work of Marguerite Yourcenar, as precious as a chapel in a vast palace. From China to Greece, from the Balkans to Japan, these TALES take us from a portrait of the painter Wang-Fo, ‘who loves the image of things and not to the things themselves’ and whose own work saves him from execution; to legends of a hero betrayed and then rescued by love; to the Indian goddess Kali, who in her unhappiness discovers ‘the emptiness of desire.’ There is violence, murder, betrayal in these tales of love and adventure, and yet an admirable economy in their telling; there are hints of the fantastic and the unexplained. Dream and myth speak here in a language rich in images which imply other, more secret meanings. Marguerite Yourcenar’s ORIENTAL TALES follow no established tradition; they have a lyricism and subtlety which are rare in contemporary literature. Their roots, their inspiration is in the East, but this is only the beginning: with the excuse of an Oriental tale, Marguerite Yourcenar has built a world of reflections upon art. ORIENTAL TALES was first published in France in 1938; this is its first appearance in English.

 

 

Yourcenar MargueriteMarguerite Yourcenar (8 June 1903 – 17 December 1987) was a French novelist and essayist born in Brussels, Belgium, who became a US citizen in 1947. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy seat 3. Yourcenar was born Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour in Brussels, Belgium, to Michel Cleenewerck de Crayencour, of French bourgeois descent, originating from French Flanders, a very wealthy landowner, and a Belgian mother, Fernande de Cartier de Marchienne, of Belgian nobility, who died ten days after her birth. She grew up in the home of her paternal grandmother. She adopted the surname Yourcenar – an almost anagram of Crayencour, having one fewer c – as a pen name; in 1947 she also took it as her legal surname. Yourcenar's first novel, Alexis, was published in 1929. She translated Virginia Woolf's The Waves over a 10-month period in 1937. In 1939, her partner at the time, the literary scholar and Kansas City native Grace Frick, invited Yourcenar to the United States to escape the outbreak of World War II in Europe. She lectured in comparative literature in New York City and Sarah Lawrence College. Yourcenar was bisexual; she and Frick became lovers in 1937 and remained together until Frick's death in 1979 and a tormented relationship with Jerry Wilson. After ten years spent in Hartford, Connecticut, they bought a house in Northeast Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island, where they lived for decades. They are buried alongside each other at Brookside Cemetery, Mount Desert, Maine. In 1951, she published, in France, the novel Memoirs of Hadrian, which she had been writing on-and-off for a decade. The novel was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim. In this novel, Yourcenar recreated the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world, the Roman emperor Hadrian, who writes a long letter to Marcus Aurelius, the son and heir of Antoninus Pius, his successor and adoptive son. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing both his triumphs and his failures, his love for Antinous, and his philosophy. The novel has become a modern classic.

 

 

 

 

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The Price Of The Ticket: Collected Nonfiction 1948-1985 by James Baldwin. New York. 1985. St Martin's Press. 690 pages. hardcover. 0312643063. Jacket design by Andy Carpenter.

 

0312643063FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   James Baldwin is one of the major American voices of this century. Nowhere is this more evident than in THE PRICE OF THE TICKET, which includes virtually every important piece of nonfiction, short and long, that Mr. Baldwin has ever written. With total truth and profound insight, these personal, prophetic works have awakened our nation to the black experience. It is safe to say that white Americans would have understood far less about what it means to be black, and blacks about themselves, without Mr. Baldwin to guide us. The book contains the full texts of Baldwin’s three great book-length essays, THE FIRE NEXT TIME, NO NAME IN THE STREET, and THE DEVIL FINDS WORK, along with dozens of other pieces, ranging from a 1948 review of RAINTREE COUNTY to a magnificent introduction to this book that, as so many of Mr. Baldwin’s works do, combines his intensely private experience with the deepest examination of black-white relations today. In a way, the book is an intellectual history of the twentieth-century black American experience (and, by extension, of the white American experience); in another, it is autobiography of the highest order. There are scenes so vivid, so beautifully realized and evoked, that to read them is to remember them forever. There is anger and profound pain. But there is always the redemptive force of a humanity that, Baldwin suggests, lies at the core of all of us, black and white. No one writes more beautifully than James Baldwin. The power of his words reveals this country’s soul.

 

 

Baldwin JamesJAMES BALDWIN was born in New York City on August 2, 1924. He was the first of nine children and grew up in Harlem where his father was a minister. For six years, after his graduation from high school in 1942, he found work in a variety of minor jobs. When he was twenty-four he left for Europe and lived there almost ten years. During this time, he wrote his first three books: GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN, NOTES OF A NATIVE SON, and GIOVANNI’S ROOM. They firmly established him as one of America’s outstanding young writers. In 1937, he returned to New York. , where he lived when not on one of his frequent trips abroad. In 1961, Mr. Baldwin’s fourth book, the collection of brilliant essays entitled NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME, brought him broad public recognition as well as distinguished critical attention. Perhaps the most meaningful book ever to discuss being Negro in America, NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME was the recipient of numerous awards and a devoted following. The following year brought similar acclaim for his best-selling novel, ANOTHER COUNTRY. In 1963, the prophetic THE FIRE NEXT TIME jolted both the critical world and the bookbuying public. Instantly acclaimed, as Granville Hick said, as ‘a great document of our times, in literary power as well as in strength of feeling and clarity of insight,’ the book rushed to the top of all the best-seller lists. James Baldwin is also the author of three plays. The first, THE AMEN CORNER, was originally produced at Howard University. It had a long and successful run in Los Angeles, later opened on Broadway in 1965, and, as GOING TO MEET THE MAN was published, another production toured the world under the auspices of the State Department. A dramatization of GIOVANNI’S ROOM was staged by the Actor’s Studio workshop. In 1964, his BLUES FOR MR. CHARLEY opened off Broadway and was published simultaneously in book form. Like THE AMEN CORNER, it has been produced throughout this country and Europe. 

 

 

 

 

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Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. New York. 1996. Penguin Books. 432 pages. paperback. 0140434143. The cover shows ‘Miss Cazenove mounted on a Grey Hunter’ by Jacques-Laurent Agasse. Edited and with an introduction by Kathryn Sutherland. 

 

0140434143FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   MANSFIELD PARK is Jane Austen’s most profound and perplexing novel. Adopted into the household of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, Fanny Price grows up a meek outsider among her cousins in the unaccustomed elegance of Mansfield Park. Soon after Sir Thomas absents himself on estate business in Antigua (the family’s investment in slavery and sugar is considered in the Introduction in a new, post-colonial light), Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive at Mansfield, bringing with them London glamour, and the seductive taste for flirtation and theatre that precipitates a crisis. While MANSFIELD PARK appears in some ways to continue where PRIDE AND PREJUDICE left off, it is, as Kathryn Sutherland shows in her illuminating Introduction, a much darker work, which challenges ‘the very values (of tradition, stability, retirement and faithfulness) it appears to endorse’. This new edition provides an accurate text based, for the first time since its original publication, on the first edition of 1814.

 

 

Austen JaneJane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it. Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is ‘famously scarce’, according to one biographer. Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen's 3,000 letters are extant), and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned ‘the greater part’ of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy. Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Francis Austen, Jane's brother. Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen's death was written by her relatives and reflects the family's biases in favour of ‘good quiet Aunt Jane’. Scholars have unearthed little information since.

 

 

 

 

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Conversation In The Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa. New York. 1984. Harper & Row. 601 pages. hardcover. 0060145021. (original title: Conversacion en La Catedral).

 

0060145021FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A powerful novel of political and personal greed, corruption, and terror set in modem Peru, by the author of The Green House and THE TIME OF THE HERO. Under the rule of the unseen military dictator General Odria. suspicion, paranoia, and blackmail become the realities of public and private life. Lust and violence are commodities for the rich and powerful, and for the people there is anonymity or recognition, real or imagined, as enemies of the public order. Through the doors of The Cathedral, a bar and brothel in Lima, come the participants - escapees, and ordinary citizens of a city caught in a web of rottenness and fear. For Santiago Zavala, journalist and son of a rich and famous politician, and the former chauffeur Ambrosio, a chance meeting begins a narrative of events that encompasses their lives and those of many others. Full of vivid scenes and characters, this is an extraordinary panorama of city life during a dictator’s regime and the story of its incipient decay and breakdown. Conversation in The Cathedral is a frightening and impressive portrait of political evil by a leading contemporary Latin American novelist. Written on many levels and brilliantly translated by Gregory Rabassa, it appropriately takes its epigraph from Balzac ‘the novel is the private history of Vargas Llosa Marionations.’

 

 

Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Peru's foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many works include THE FEAST OF THE GOAT, THE BAD GIRL, AUNT JULIA AND THE SCRIPTWRITER, THE WAR OF THE END OF THE WORLD, and THE STORYTELLER. He lives in London. 

 

 

 

 

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Mule Bone: A Comedy Of Negro Life by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. New York. 1991. Harper Collins. 282 pages. hardcover. 0060553014. Jacket design by Suzanne Noli. Jacket illustration by David Diaz.

 

0060553014FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Set in Eatonville, Florida, Zora Neale Hurston’s hometown and the inspiration for much of her fiction, this energetic and often farcical play centers on Jim and Dave, a two-man song-and-dance team, and Daisy, the woman who comes between their singing and dancing. When jealousy gets the better of Jim, he picks up a mule bone and hits Dave. Chaos and hilarity ensue as the town breaks into two factions: the Methodists, who think Jim should be pardoned; and the Baptists, who think he should be banished for his crime. The exact origins of the dispute between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston remain mysterious, but the vehemence of their disagreement has made MULE BONE an object of great curiosity in Afro-American literary history. Accompanying this edition of MULE BONE are the original Hurston short story on which the play was based and a fascinating look at the many sides of the MULE BONE controversy. From Hughes’s autobiography, the biographies of Hurston and Hughes, and the collaborators’ personal (and often heated) correspondence, we learn how the authors’ personal and professional clash not only created an irreparable rift in their friendship but truly buried Hurston Zora Nealethe play unread and unproduced - until now.

 

 

ZORA NEALE HURSTON (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist and was the author of many fiction and nonfiction works, including THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, MULES AND MEN, and DUST TRACKS ON A ROAD. LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1961) was a poet, novelist, lecturer, and playwright and was the author of more than thirty-five books, including THE WEARY BLUES, SIMPLE SPEAKS HIS MIND, and THE BIG SEA.

 

 

 

 

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The Orwell Reader by George Orwell. New York. 1956. Harcourt Brace & Company. 456 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Janet Halverson.

 

orwell reader harcourt brace and company 1956FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Here is Orwell’s work in all its remarkable range and variety. The selections in this anthology show how Orwell developed as writer and as thinker; inevitably, too, they reflect and illuminate the history of the time of troubles in which he lived and worked. ‘A magnificent tribute to the probity, consistency and insight of Orwell’s topical writings’ (Alfred Kazin).

 

 

Orwell GeorgeEric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. There, Blair’s father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (born Limouzin), brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family’s background as ‘lower-upper-middle class’. At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian’s School, in Eastbourne, Sussex. Blair attended St Cyprian’s by a private financial arrangement that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. At the school, he formed a lifelong friendship with Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine Horizon, in which many of his most famous essays were originally published. Many years later, Blair would recall his time at St Cyprian’s with biting resentment in the essay ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’. However, in his time at St. Cyprian’s, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton. After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King’s Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been ‘relatively happy’ at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and his father felt that he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and in such essays as ‘A Hanging’ (1931) and ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1936). Back in England he wrote to Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, and she and a friend found him a room in London, on the Portobello Road (a blue plaque is now on the outside of this house), where he started to write. It was from here that he sallied out one evening to Limehouse Causeway - following in the footsteps of Jack London - and spent his first night in a common lodging house, probably George Levy’s ‘kip’. For a while he ‘went native’ in his own country, dressing like other tramps and making no concessions, and recording his experiences of low life in his first published essay, ‘The Spike’, and the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where his Aunt Nellie lived and died, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. In the autumn of 1929, his lack of success reduced Blair to taking menial jobs as a dishwasher for a few weeks, principally in a fashionable hotel (the Hotel X) on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, although there is no indication that he had the book in mind at the time. Ill and penniless, he moved back to England in 1929, using his parents’ house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became Burmese Days, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the poorest people in society. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry’s New Adelphi magazine. Blair completed Down and Out in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school called Frays College near Hayes, Middlesex. He took the job as an escape from dire poverty and it was during this period that he managed to obtain a literary agent called Leonard Moore. Blair also adopted the pen name George Orwell just before Down and Out was published. In a November 15 letter to Leonard Moore, his agent, he left the choice of a pseudonym to Moore and to Victor Gollancz, the publisher. Four days later, Blair wrote Moore and suggested P. S. Burton, a name he used ‘when tramping,’ adding three other possibilities: Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. Orwell drew on his work as a teacher and on his life in Southwold for the novel A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935), which he wrote at his parents’ house in 1934 after ill-health - and the urgings of his parents - forced him to give up teaching. From late 1934 to early 1936 he worked part-time as an assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, in Hampstead. Having led a lonely and very solitary existence, he wanted to enjoy the company of other young writers, and Hampstead was a place for intellectuals, as well as having many houses with cheap bedsitters. He worked his experiences into the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). In early 1936, Orwell was commissioned by Victor Gollancz of the Left Book Club to write an account of poverty among the working class in the depressed areas of northern England, which appeared in 1937 as The Road to Wigan Pier. He was taken into many houses, simply saying that he wanted to see how people lived. He made systematic notes on housing conditions and wages and spent several days in the local public library consulting reports on public health and conditions in the mines. He did his homework as a social investigator. The first half of the book is a social documentary of his investigative touring in Lancashire and Yorkshire, beginning with an evocative description of work in the coal mines. The second half of the book, a long essay in which Orwell recounts his personal upbringing and development of political conscience, includes a very strong denunciation of what he saw as irresponsible elements of the left. Gollancz feared that the second half would offend Left Book Club readers, and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy. In December 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain primarily to fight, not to write, for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco’s Fascist uprising. In a conversation with Philip Mairet, the editor of the New English Weekly, Orwell said: ‘This fascism. somebody’s got to stop it.’ To Orwell, liberty and democracy went together and, among other things, guaranteed the freedom of the artist; the present capitalist civilization was corrupt, but fascism would be morally calamitous. John McNair (1887-1968) is also quoted as saying in a conversation with Orwell: ‘He then said that this (writing a book) was quite secondary and his main reason for coming was to fight against Fascism.’ He went alone, and his wife joined him later. He joined the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some twenty-five Britons who joined the militia of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM - Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), a revolutionary Spanish communist political party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (the dominant force on the left in Catalonia), believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism - a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which (backed by Soviet arms and aid) argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong. Orwell sympathetically describes the egalitarian spirit of revolutionary Barcelona when he arrived in Homage to Catalonia. According to his own account, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the Communist-run International Brigades by chance - but his experiences, in particular his and his wife’s narrow escape from the Communist purges in Barcelona in June 1937, greatly increased his sympathy for POUM and made him a life-long anti-Stalinist and a firm believer in what he termed Democratic Socialism, that is to say, in socialism combined with free debate and free elections. During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. At first it was feared that his voice would be permanently reduced to nothing more than a painful whisper. This wasn’t so, although the injury did affect his voice, giving it what was described as, ‘a strange, compelling quietness.’ He wrote in Homage to Catalonia that people frequently told him he was lucky to survive, but that he personally thought ‘it would be even luckier not to be hit at all.’ The Orwells then spent six months in Morocco in order to recover from his wound, and during this period, he wrote his last pre-World War II novel, Coming Up For Air. As the most English of all his novels, the alarms of war mingle with idyllic images of a Thames-side Edwardian childhood enjoyed by its protagonist, George Bowling. Much of the novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of old England. There were also massive new external threats and George Bowling puts the totalitarian hypothesis of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler in homely terms: ‘Old Hitler’s something different. So’s Joe Stalin. They aren’t like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it. They’re something quite new - something that’s never been heard of before.’ After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell’s formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, in the genteel neighbourhood of Marylebone, very close to Regent’s Park in central London. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began (and was later awarded the ‘British Campaign Medals/Defence Medal’). In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India’s doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like ‘an orange that’s been trodden on by a very dirty boot’. The wartime Ministry of Information, which was based at Senate House, University of London, was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson. Orwell’s decision to resign from the BBC followed a report confirming his fears about the broadcasts: very few Indians were listening. He wanted to become a war correspondent and also seems to have been impatient to begin work on Animal Farm. Despite the good salary, he resigned in September 1943 and in November became the literary editor of Tribune, the left-wing weekly then edited by Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche (it was Kimche who had been Box to Orwell’s Cox when they both worked as half-time assistants in the Hampstead bookshop in 1934-35). Orwell was on the staff until early 1945, contributing a regular column titled ‘As I Please.’ Anthony Powell and Malcolm Muggeridge had returned from overseas to finish the war in London. All three took to lunching regularly, usually at the Bodega just off the Strand or the Bourgogne in Soho, sometimes joined by Julian Symons (who seemed at the time to be Orwell’s true disciple), and David Astor, editor/owner of The Observer. In 1944, Orwell finished his anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm, which was first published in Britain on 17 August 1945 and in the U.S.A on the 26 August 1946 with great critical and popular success. Frank Morley, an editor Harcourt Brace, had come to Britain as soon as he could at the end of the War to see what readers were currently interested in. He asked to serve a week or so in Bowes and Bowes, a Cambridge bookshop. On his first day there customers kept asking for a book that had sold out - the second impression of Animal Farm. He left the counter, read the single copy left in the postal order department, went to London and bought the American rights. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, and with the end of the War in sight, Orwell felt his old desire growing to be somehow in the thick of the action. David Astor asked him to act as a war correspondent for the Observer to cover the liberation of France and the early occupation of Germany, so Orwell left Tribune to do so. He was a close friend of Astor (some say the model for the wealthy publisher in Keep the Aspidistra Flying), and his ideas had a strong influence on Astor’s editorial policies. Astor, who died in 2001, is buried in the grave next to Orwell. Orwell and his wife adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, born in May 1944. Orwell was taken ill again in Cologne in spring 1945. While he was sick there, his wife died during an operation in Newcastle to remove a tumour. She had not told him about this operation due to concerns about the cost and the fact that she thought she would make a speedy recovery. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work - mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines - with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Originally, Orwell was undecided between titling the book The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four but his publisher, Fredric Warburg, helped him choose. The title was not the year Orwell had initially intended. He first set his story in 1980, but, as the time taken to write the book dragged on (partly because of his illness), that was changed to 1982 and, later, to 1984. He wrote much of the novel while living at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, which lies in the Gulf stream off the west coast of Scotland. It was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near to the northern end of the island, lying at the end of a five-mile (8 km) heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the laird or landowner, Margaret Fletcher, lived and where the paved road, the only road on the island, came to an end. In 1948, he co-edited a collection entitled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In 1949, Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which the Labour government had set up to publish anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until 2003, consists mainly of journalists (among them the editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin) but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin. Orwell’s motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping a friend in a cause - anti-Stalinism - that they both supported. There is no indication that Orwell abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings - or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell’s list was also accurate: the people on it had all made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In fact, one of the people on the list, Peter Smollett, the head of the Soviet section in the Ministry of Information, was later (after the opening of KGB archives) proven to be a Soviet agent, recruited by Kim Philby, and ‘almost certainly the person on whose advice the publisher Jonathan Cape turned down Animal Farm as an unhealthily anti-Soviet text’, although Orwell was unaware of this. In October 1949, shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis. He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints’ Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: ‘Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903, died January 21, 1950’; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. He had wanted to be buried in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die, but the graveyards in central London had no space. Fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see if any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. Orwell’s friend David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be buried there, although he had no connection with the village. Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father’s death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase-Riboud. New York. 1979. Viking Press. hardcover. 348 pages. June 1979.  Jacket painting by Cornelia Gray. 0670616052.

 

0670616052FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   One of the greatest love stories in American history is also one of the least known, and most controversial. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, had a mistress for thirty-eight years, whom he loved and lived with until he died, the beautiful and elusive Sally Hemings. But it was not simply that Jefferson had a mistress that provoked the scandal of the times; it was that Sally Hemings was a quadroon slave, and that Jefferson fathered a slave family, many of whose descendents, known and unknown, are alive today. In this moving novel, which spans two continents, sixty years, and seven presidencies, Barbara Chase-Riboud re-creates a love story, based on the documents and evidence of the day but giving free rein to the novelist’s imagination. The story opens in the Paris of 1787, two scant years before the French Revolution and but a decade after the start of our own, where Thomas Jefferson is serving as the American ambassador to the court of France. A widower, Jefferson had brought his elder daughter, Martha, to France with him, but now he decides to bring over his younger daughter, Polly, as well. Sent with her as maid and servant is fourteen-year-old Sally Hemings. Over the next several months Jefferson grows increasingly infatuated with his slave, and before long becomes her lover. Highly intelligent and sensitive, and increasingly educated and sophisticated through her Paris sojourn, Sally Hemings could have opted not to return to America when Jefferson was called home, could have chosen freedom on the basis that slavery had been abolished on French soil. Bit she did return with Jefferson to Monticello, thus reenslaving herself to him. She never left Monticello again, and Jefferson, despite pressures to do so, did not remarry; the reason, no doubt, was Sally Hemings. Woven into this rich and complex narrative of love and enslavement is the story of the early Republic and of the personages of Aaron Burr, Dolley and James Madison, John and Abigail Adams, and John Trumbull. And like a series of somber counterpoints to the compelling love story are three salient themes: the slave rebellions of Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner; murders, those of George Wythe, Jefferson’s old professor and benefactor, and of George, the Lewis slave in Kentucky; and, above all, survival, that of Sally Hemings but also that of her indomitable mother, Elizabeth. Here were two generations of slave mistresses: Sally Hemings, mistress to a president, and her mother, mistress to a president’s father-in-law. The strange and complex ties between these two American families - the Jeffersons and the Hemingses, one white, one black—form in a sense the underside of our history. In this brilliant novel, Barbara Chase-Riboud presents the remarkable love story of Jefferson and Hemings as a poignant, tragic, and unforgettable addendum to the history of the races, and of the sexes, in America.

 

 

Chase Riboud BarbaraBarbara Chase-Riboud (born June 26, 1939) is an American novelist, poet, sculptor and visual artist best known for her historical fiction. Much of her work has explored themes related to slavery and exploitation. Chase-Riboud attained international recognition with the publication of her first novel, SALLY HEMINGS, in 1979. The novel has been described as the ‘first full blown imagining’ of Hemings' life as a slave and her relationship with Jefferson. In addition to stimulating considerable controversy, the book earned Chase-Riboud the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Carl Sandburg Prize for poetry and the Women's Caucus for Art's lifetime achievement award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People's Republic of China after the revolution and in 1996, she was knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

 

 

 

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The Real Life Of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov. Norfolk. 1941. 206 pages. November 1941. hardcover.

 

 

real life of sebastian knightFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT is a perversely magical literary detective story-subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax-about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight’s death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist’s private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject’s own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely Nabokov Vladimirrewarding.

 

 

VLADIMIR NABOKOV (1899-1977) was one of the twentieth century's greatest writers in Russian and English. Poet, novelist, dramatist, memoirist, critic, translator, essayist, and scientist, he was awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1973. He taught creative writing and Russian literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. Among his most celebrated works are LOLITA; PALE FIRE; ADA; SPEAK, MEMORY; and his translation of Pushkin's EUGENE ONEGIN.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Traces Of Thomas Hariot by Muriel Rukeyser. New York. 1971. Random House. 366 pages. hardcover. 0394449231. 

 

 

0394449231FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A study of the life of little-known Elizabethan Thomas Hariot - friend of Ralegh, Drake and Marlowe, and one of the first English explorers of the New World. Hariot was linked to poets, mathematicians and pioneer scientists, involved in the scientific, political, philosophical and sexual heresies of his time, and an expert in ships and navigation as well as an astronomer and philosopher.

 

 

Rukeyser MurielMuriel Rukeyser (15 December 1913 – 12 February 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her ‘exact generation’. One of her most powerful pieces was a group of poems entitled The Book of the Dead (1938), documenting the details of the Hawk's Nest incident, an industrial disaster in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis. Her poem ‘To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century’ (1944), on the theme of Judaism as a gift, was adopted by the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements for their prayer books, something Rukeyser said ‘astonished’ her, as she had remained distant from Judaism throughout her early life.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bureaucrats by Honore de Balzac. Evanston. 1993. Northwestern University Press. 247 pages. paperback. Cover: Honore Daumier, ‘Le ventre Legiuslatif, from Association Mensuelle.’ Translated from the French by Charles Foulkes. Edited and with an introduction by Marco Diani. 0810109875. Originally published as Les Employés (1837 - Scènes de la vie Parisienne).
 

 

0810109875FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   THE BUREAUCRATS (Les Employés) stands out in Balzac’s immense oeuvre by offering a compelling analysis of an important nineteenth-century French institution: the state bureaucracy. In the nearly one hundred novels and long stories that make up THE HUMAN COMEDY, Balzac considers a broad array of personal, social, and political phenomena that were undergoing significant change and conflict; marriage and the family, money, aristocracy and the legitimation of the middle class, Paris and the provinces, obsession, ambition, and failure are recurring elements of this vast portrait. In it Balzac detailed a number of distinctive institutions - journalism and publishing, banking, the church, law - but never did he concentrate his vision so precisely and so penetratingly on a distinctive modern institution as he did in THE BUREAUCRATS. The novel portrays the state bureaucracy and its ranks of civil servants in a biting critique of the bureaucratic mentality. The plot revolves around the efforts of one man, aided by his unscrupulous wife, to reorganize and streamline the entire system. Rabourdin’s Plan, as it comes to be known in the novel, will halve the government’s size while doubling its revenue. When the plan is leaked, Rabourdin’s rival, an utter incompetent, nonetheless gains the overwhelming support of the frightened and desperate body of low-ranking employees. The novel contains recognizable themes of Balzac’s work: obsessive ambition, conspiracy and human pettiness, a melodramatic struggle between social ‘good’ and the evils of folly and stupidity. But this work is more than a typical nineteenth-century realist novel representing personal drama played out against the background of social and historical forces. It is also an unusual, dramatized analysis of a developing political institution and its role in shaping social class and mentality. Charles Foulkes’s highly readable translation of this important but neglected novel is enhanced by the introduction by Marco Diani, which demonstrates the novel’s appeal across a number of disciplines: French literature, history, political science, sociology, and applied literary and social theory. This modern translation of THE BUREAUCRATS, the first English-language version available in over sixty years, will help establish Balzac as a serious observer and critic of government and of the class of the civil servants it produces.

 

 

Balzac Honore deHonoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics. An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience. Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal difficulties, and he ended several friendships over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Hanska, his longtime love; he died five months later.

 

 

 

 

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Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois. New York. 1938. Harcourt Brace & Company. 746 pages. March 1938.

 

black reconstruction in america harcourt brace 1938 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A distinguished scholar introduces the pioneering work in the study of the role of black Americans during the Reconstruction by the most gifted and influential black intellectual of his time. BLACK RECONSTRUCTION IN AMERICA is a book by W. E. B. Du Bois, first published in 1935. It is revisionist approach to looking at the Reconstruction of the south after its defeat in the American civil war. On the whole, the book takes a Marxist approach to looking at reconstruction. The essential argument of the text is that the Black and White laborers, who are the proletariat, were divided after the civil war on the lines of race, and as such were unable to stand together against the white propertied class, the bourgeoisie. This to Du Bois was the failure of reconstruction and the reason for the rise of the Jim Crow laws, and other such injustices. In addition to creating a landmark work in early U.S. Marxist sociology, at the time Dubois’ historical scholarship and use of the techniques of primary source data research on the post war political economy of the former Confederate States’ were equally ground breaking. He performed the first systematic and rigorous analysis of the political economy of the reconstruction period of the southern states; based upon actual data collected during period. This research completely disestablished the anecdotal, racist bromides which had come to form the basis of the so-called ‘scholarship’ of the reconstruction period. Dubois’ research discredited forever the notion that the post-emancipation and post-Appomattox south had degenerated into either economic or political chaos, and had been kept in a state of chaos by the armed forces of the Union, through their military occupation. On the contrary, the reconstruction state governments had for example, established their states’ first, universal primary education systems. They did this because the reconstruction state constitutions (which they had written) had, for the first time, established as a right, the free public primary schooling of their states’ children. These governments had also been the first to establish public health departments to promote public health and sanitation, and to combat the spread of epidemic disease that is inherent in the semi-tropical climate of the south. And when the redeemer government’s seized power in later years and re-wrote these states’ constitutions to reestablish ‘race law’ and the Jim-Crow system, they did not touch the education and public health and welfare laws and constitutional principles that the reconstruction governments had established.Du Bois W E B

 

 

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was internationally renowned as a writer, scholar, and activist. Among his published works are THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLKS, JOHN BROWN, and BLACK RECONSTRUCTION: AN ESSAY TOWARD A HISTORY OF THE PART WHICH BLACK FOLK PLAYED IN THE ATTEMPT TO RECONSTRUCT DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, 1860—1880. He also wrote other major fiction, including DARK PRINCESS.
 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Satan is a Woman by Gil Brewer. New York. 1951. Facwett Gold Medal. paperback. 158 pages. September 1951. #169. 

 

fgm satan is a woman 169FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   She carried hell in her heart. SATAN IS A WOMAN. There is a legend of olden time that the Devil is not a fallen archangle at all, but a woman with flaxen hair and green eyes - a beautiful creature with an angel face, who can bend innocent young men to her will, and bring them to their doom. Larry Cole never heard of this legend. He lived it.

 

 

Brewer GilFlorida writer Gil Brewer (1922-1983) was the author of dozens of wonderfully sleazy sex/crime adventure novels of the 1950's and 60's, including Backwoods Teaser and Nude on Thin Ice; some of them starring private eye Lee Baron (Wild) or the brothers Sam and Tate Morgan (The Bitch). Gil Brewer, who had not previously published any novels, began to write for Gold Medal Paperbacks in 1950-51. Brewer wrote some 30 novels between 1951 and the late 60s – very often involving an ordinary man who becomes involved with, and is often corrupted and destroyed by, an evil or designing woman. His style is simple and direct, with sharp dialogue, often achieving considerable intensity. Brewer was one of the many writers who ghost wrote under the Ellery Queen byline as well. Brewer also was known as Eric Fitzgerald, Bailey Morgan, and Elaine Evans.

 

 

 

  

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Country Place by Ann Petry. Boston. 1947. Houghton Mifflin. 266 pages. Cover: Paul Sample.

 

country place houghton mifflin 1947FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

With all the compassionate insight into human beings for which she is noted, Ann Petry exposes the hypocrisies of a tranquil New England town in this dramatic story of a war veteran who searches to find out whether his wife has been unfaithful. ‘Gossip, malice, infidelity, murder. . . are some of the dominant matters treated in Country Place.’ - New York Times. African American novelist Ann Petry drew on her personal experiences of the New England Hurricane of 1938 in her 1947 novel, COUNTRY PLACE. Although the novel is set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Petry identified the 1938 storm as the source for the storm that is at the center of her narrative of gossip, malice, infidelity and murder amongst whites in a small town in America that reveals the ‘hidden evil and menace under the bland, innocent externals of a town's life. . . A dramatic story about a group of New Englanders whose commonplace exterior covers many tensions. We see the small, sleepy town through the eyes of the local druggist, an elderly, kindly man who owns the respect and confidence of his neighbors. The action takes place during a hurricane, and as the storm progresses the novel unfolds the violence beneath the surface of the storm, a violence composed of ordinary characters in all too ordinary situations.’ (Laura Z. Hobson). Second novel by the author of THE STREET.

 

The Signet paperback edition:

 

 signet country place s1426

 

 

 

 

 

Petry Ann Ann Petry was an African American author. Ann Lane was born as the younger of the two daughters to Peter and Bertha Clark in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Her parents belonged to the Black minority of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. The family belonged to the middle-class, and never had to suffer any financial struggles similar to those of many Harlem inhabitants. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin. Only once did Ann experience racial discrimination when she went to school two years early at the age of 4 with her older sister Helen. On their way home, the two sisters were attacked by some white juveniles with stones. After the girls’ uncles took care of this by threatening the wrongdoers the Lane girls were never bothered again. The strong family bonding was a big support for Ann’s self-esteem. Her well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell their nieces when coming home, her ambitious father who overcame racial obstacles when opening his pharmacy in the small town as well as her mother and aunts, set a great example to Ann and Helen to become strong themselves. Petry interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992 says about her tough female family members that ‘it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn’t do because they were women. ’ The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: ‘I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to. ’ However, Petry decided on a rather stable education and followed the family tradition after finishing high school. She enrolled in college and graduated with a Ph. G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. On February 24, 1938 she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana. This new commitment brought Petry to New York and eventually back to writing. She did not only write articles for newspapers like Amsterdam News, or People’s Voice, and published short stories in the Crisis, but was also engaged at an elementary school in Harlem. It was during this period of her life that she had realized and personally experienced what the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the littered streets of Harlem, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close – Petry’s early years in New York inevitably made painful impressions on her. Deeply impacted by her Harlem experiences, Ann Petry was in the possession of the necessary creative writing skills to bring it to paper. Her daughter Liz explains to the Washington Post that ‘her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book, which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn’t do. ’ She wrote her most popular novel The Street in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, the writer worked on Country Place, The Narrows, and some other stories but they have never achieved the same success as her first book. Until her death Petry lived in a representative 18th century house in her hometown, Old Saybrook. Ann Lane Petry died at the age of 88 on 28th April 1997. She was outlived by her only daughter, Liz Petry.

 

 

 

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The Narrows by Ann Petry. Boston. 1953. Houghton Mifflin. 428 pages.

 

narrows houghton mifflinFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Originally published in 1953, The Narrows spins the unforgettable tale of a forbidden love affair between Link Williams, a college-educated twenty-six-year-old black man, and Camilo Sheffield, a wealthy married white woman. Set in the sleepy New England town of Monmouth, Connecticut, and 'filled with dramatic force, earthy humor, and tragic intensity', this classic novel deftly evokes a divisive era in America's not-so-distant past.

 

 

Petry AnnAnn Petry was an African American author. Ann Lane was born as the younger of the two daughters to Peter and Bertha Clark in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Her parents belonged to the Black minority of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. The family belonged to the middle-class, and never had to suffer any financial struggles similar to those of many Harlem inhabitants. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin. Only once did Ann experience racial discrimination when she went to school two years early at the age of 4 with her older sister Helen. On their way home, the two sisters were attacked by some white juveniles with stones. After the girls’ uncles took care of this by threatening the wrongdoers the Lane girls were never bothered again. The strong family bonding was a big support for Ann’s self-esteem. Her well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell their nieces when coming home, her ambitious father who overcame racial obstacles when opening his pharmacy in the small town as well as her mother and aunts, set a great example to Ann and Helen to become strong themselves. Petry interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992 says about her tough female family members that ‘it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn’t do because they were women. ’ The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: ‘I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to. ’ However, Petry decided on a rather stable education and followed the family tradition after finishing high school. She enrolled in college and graduated with a Ph. G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. On February 24, 1938 she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana. This new commitment brought Petry to New York and eventually back to writing. She did not only write articles for newspapers like Amsterdam News, or People’s Voice, and published short stories in the Crisis, but was also engaged at an elementary school in Harlem. It was during this period of her life that she had realized and personally experienced what the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the littered streets of Harlem, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close – Petry’s early years in New York inevitably made painful impressions on her. Deeply impacted by her Harlem experiences, Ann Petry was in the possession of the necessary creative writing skills to bring it to paper. Her daughter Liz explains to the Washington Post that ‘her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book, which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn’t do. ’ She wrote her most popular novel The Street in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, the writer worked on Country Place, The Narrows, and some other stories but they have never achieved the same success as her first book. Until her death Petry lived in a representative 18th century house in her hometown, Old Saybrook. Ann Lane Petry died at the age of 88 on 28th April 1997. She was outlived by her only daughter, Liz Petry.

 

 

 

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 The Street by Ann Petry. Boston. 1946. Houghton Mifflin. A Literary Fellowship Prize 1st Novel. 436 pages.

 

street houghton mifflinFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM THE SIGNET PAPERBACK EDITION - 

 

 

 

signet street 710 The unforgettable story of a beautiful woman beset by the passion, sin, and violence of the city. THE STREET - Her first novel, The Street, written while her husband was in the Army, is, she says, a kind of summing up of the things she saw and heard during the six years that she worked and lived in one of America’s largest ghettoes - New York’s Harlem. It won a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship award, and in 1946 was published by that company (which also published her second novel, Country Place, a non-racial account of a New England town during a hurricane). Of The Street said The Survey Graphic: ‘Miss Petry has written a strong and disturbing book. It is a callous reader, indeed, who will not be haunted by it for a long time.’ Born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Ann Petry comes from a New England family that has specialized in some branch of chemistry for three generations. If she had not married and gone to live in New York City, she would probably have made pharmacy her life work. Instead she found a variety of jobs in advertising and journalism that would give her an opportunity to write. While interviewing celebrities, covering political rallies and three-alarm fires for a Harlem weekly, reporting on murders and all other forms of sudden death, she acquired an intimate and disturbing knowledge of Harlem and its ancient, evil housing; its tragic, broken families; its high death rate.

 

 

 

 

 

Petry Ann Ann Petry (Ann Lane) was an African American author. Ann Lane was born as the younger of the two daughters to Peter and Bertha Clark in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Her parents belonged to the Black minority of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. The family belonged to the middle-class, and never had to suffer any financial struggles similar to those of many Harlem inhabitants. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin. Only once did Ann experience racial discrimination when she went to school two years early at the age of 4 with her older sister Helen. On their way home, the two sisters were attacked by some white juveniles with stones. After the girls' uncles took care of this by threatening the wrongdoers the Lane girls were never bothered again. The strong family bonding was a big support for Ann's self-esteem. Her well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell their nieces when coming home, her ambitious father who overcame racial obstacles when opening his pharmacy in the small town as well as her mother and aunts, set a great example to Ann and Helen to become strong themselves. Petry interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992 says about her tough female family members that 'it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn't do because they were women. ' The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: 'I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to. ' However, Petry decided on a rather stable education and followed the family tradition after finishing high school. She enrolled in college and graduated with a Ph. G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. On February 24, 1938 she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana. This new commitment brought Petry to New York and eventually back to writing. She did not only write articles for newspapers like Amsterdam News, or People's Voice, and published short stories in the Crisis, but was also engaged at an elementary school in Harlem. It was during this period of her life that she had realized and personally experienced what the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the littered streets of Harlem, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close - Petry's early years in New York inevitably made painful impressions on her. Deeply impacted by her Harlem experiences, Ann Petry was in the possession of the necessary creative writing skills to bring it to paper. Her daughter Liz explains to the Washington Post that 'her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book, which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn't do. ' She wrote her most popular novel The Street in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, the writer worked on Country Place, The Narrows, and some other stories but they have never achieved the same success as her first book. Until her death Petry lived in a representative 18th century house in her hometown, Old Saybrook. Ann Lane Petry died at the age of 88 on 28th April 1997. She was outlived by her only daughter, Liz Petry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship Of Reason In The West by John Ralston Saul. New York. 1992. Free Press. 640 pages. Cover design by Michael Langenstein. 0029277256.

 

0029277256The pitfalls of rationalism and and the rise of bureaucracy.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion. Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet Saul shows that there has never before been such pressure for conformity. Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators. We are obsessed with competition, yet the single largest item of international trade is a subsidized market in armaments. We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics. We complain about 'invasive government,' yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are breaking down. While most observers view these problems separately, Saul demonstrates that they are largely manifestations of our blind faith in the value of reason. Over the last 400 years, our 'rational elites' have gradually instituted reforms in every phase of social life. But Saul show that they have also been responsible for moist of the difficulties and violence of the same period. This paradox arises from a simple truth, which our elites deny: far from being a moral force, reason is no more than an administrative method. Their denial has helped to turn the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded experts - 'Voltaire's bastards' - whose cult of scientific management if bereft of both sense and morality. Whether in politics, art, business, the military, entertainment, science, finance, academia or journalism, these experts share the same outlook and methods. The result, Saul maintains, is a civilization of immense technological power whose people increasingly dwell in a world of illusion. Already known to millions of readers as the author of novels which portray the overwhelming effects of this power on the modern individual by weaving together international finance, the oil and arms business, guerilla warfare, drug traffic, and the world of art, here Saul lays aside the mask of fiction to speak in his own voice. Only by withdrawing from our addiction to 'solutions', he argues, reclaiming the citizens' right to question and participate in public life, and Saul John Ralstonrecovering a common sense capacity for intelligent panic, can we find a way out of our permanent crisis.

 

 

JOHN RALSTON SAUL holds a Ph. D. in history from King's College, ran a Paris-based investment firm, worked as a Canadian oil executive, and has written extensively about North Africa and Southeast Asia. His novel, THE PARADISE EATER, won the Premio Letteratio Internazionale in 1990.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eurocentrism by Samir Amin. New York. 1989. Monthly Review Press. hardcover. 152 pages. Translated from the French by Russell More. 0853457867.

 

0853457867FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Since its first publication twenty years ago, Eurocentrism has become a classic of radical thought. Written by one of the world's foremost political economists, this original and provocative essay takes on one of the great 'ideological deformations' of our time: Eurocentrism. Rejecting the dominant Eurocentric view of world history, which narrowly and incorrectly posits a progression from the Greek and Roman classical world to Christian feudalism and the European capitalist system, Amin presents a sweeping reinterpretation that emphasizes the crucial historical role played by the Arab Islamic world. Throughout the work, Amin addresses a broad set of concerns, ranging from the ideological nature of scholastic metaphysics to the meanings and shortcomings of contemporary Islamic fundamentalism.

 

 

 

Amin SamirSamir Amin was born in Cairo, the son of two doctors, his father Egyptian and his mother French. He lived in Port Said in northern Egypt and attended the French lycée there, receiving his baccalaureate in 1947. Amin then enrolled at the Lycée Henri IV in Paris to study mathematics and at the Institut d’études Politiques to study law, which at the time was the way to study economics. He received a diploma in political science in 1952 and a license in law and economics in 1953 and then opted to pursue a doctorate in economics. He also obtained a diploma in statistics from the Institut de Statistiques de L’université de Paris in 1956. In June 1957, Amin received a doctorate in economics under the direction of Maurice Byé and with the additional guidance of François Perroux. As a student, Amin spent much of his time as a militant with various student movements and from 1949 to 1953 helped publish the journal Étudiants Anticolonialistes, through which he met many of the future members of Africa’s governing elite. From 1957 to 1960, Amin worked in Cairo on economic development issues for the Egyptian government, then moved to Bamako, Mali, where he was an adviser to the Malian planning ministry (1960-1963). In 1963 he moved to Dakar, Senegal, where he took a fellowship (1963-1970) at the Institut Africain de Développement Économique et de Planification (IDEP). He became a director at IDEP (1970-1980) and subsequently was named director of the Third World Forum (1980–). Amin has at various times held professorships in Poitiers, Dakar, and Paris. The author of more than thirty books, Amin’s brilliant 1957 dissertation, subsequently published in 1970 as L’accumulation à l’échelle mondiale; critique de la théorie dusous-développement (translated in 1974 as Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of Underdevelopment ), was the earliest significant work to argue that underdevel-opment in much of the world was a direct consequence of the way the capitalist economy functions. He argued that this polarization is due to transfers of profits from the poor countries to the rich, which help alleviate potential under-consumptionist problems in the industrial economies, allowing the industrial world to pay higher salaries or offer lower prices to consumers than would be possible were the labor theory of value to work simply at the national level. Amin’s new emphasis on the global economy as a unit of analysis is intended to explain global salary and price differences within a Marxist labor theory of value. Even his later works (e.g. Obsolescent Capitalism and Beyond U.S. Hegemony ) have built on this model to critique imperialist projects generally and post–September 11, 2001 U.S. hegemonic efforts more particularly. Amin argues for a polycentric world that can counteract monopolies in areas such as technology, finance, natural resources, media, and weapons production that consistently hurt poor countries. Amin’s reliance on a labor theory of value and underconsumptionist theory has limited his analytical outlook and led him to make overly simplistic predictions even as it has allowed a holistic historical materialistic perspective. Nevertheless, his criticisms of neoclassical equilibrium models and imperialistic projects have long since been joined by those of economists and social scientists from many different theoretical persuasions. 

 

 

 

 

 

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 The Shooting Gallery & Other Stories by Yuko Tsushima. New York. 1988. Pantheon Books. paperback. 138 pages. Translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt. 0394757432.

 

0394757432FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Eight stories by one of Japan's most important women authors concern the struggles of women in a repressive society. An unwed mother introduces her children to their father. A woman confronts the 'other woman'. A young single mother resents her children. These stories touch on universal themes of passion and jealousy, motherhood's joys and sorrows, and the tug-of-war between responsibility and entrapment.

 

 

Tsushima YukoYuko Tsushima was born in 1947, the daughter of novelist Osamu Dazai, author of THE SETTING SUN and NO LONGER HUMAN, who committed suicide in 1948. While still in her senior year at university she published her first short story, and her reputation as one of Japan’s most remarkable young writers is based largely on works of short fiction. Nine volumes of her short stories have appeared to date; they include Mugura no Haha (1974), Waga Chichitachi (1975), Kusa no Fushido (1977), Hikari no Ryobun (1979), and Suifu (1982). In addition, she has published three full-length novels - Choji (1978), Moeru Kaze (1980), and Yama o Hashiru Onna (1980). Both Choji (Child of Fortune) and Yama o Hashiru Onna were awarded major literary prizes. Yuko Tsushima lives in Tokyo with her daughter.

 

 

 

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Half-Truths & One-And-A-Half Truths by Karl Kraus. Montreal. 1976. Engendra Press. hardcover. 128 pages. Design by Anthony Crouch. Edited and translated from the German by Harry Zohn. 0919830005.

 

0919830005FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   ‘This, and only this, is the substance of our civilization: the speed with which stupidity sucks us into its vortex.’ An intrepid guardian of the truth in an age drowning in lies, Karl Kraus (1874-1936), the great Viennese editor, moralist, polemicist and pacifist - and perhaps the foremost aphorist of modern times - unrelentingly assailed those powers whom he regarded as the mainspring of a Europe in an advanced state of putrefaction. Journalists, nationalists, warmongers, ‘psychoanais’ – all who corrupted the quality of life through their defilement of language found themselves on the receiving end of satiric barbs launched by the outraged humanitarian, who (true satirist that he was) measured everything he witnessed against unbending standards. ‘Hate must make a person productive; otherwise one might as well love.’ Karl Kraus was a passionate lover as well as a productive hater; HALF-TRUTHS & ONE-AND-A-HALF TRUTHS strikes a balance between aphoristic sayings born of contempt or indignation and those having their source in more positive – though no less intense – feelings and concerns. The process of artistic creation, the role of the satirist, the significance of language (‘the divining rod which finds sources of thought’) and the mysteries inherent in the relationship between the sexes are some of the themes on which Kraus expressed himself aphoristically; Professor Zohn’s selection and translation have resulted in one of the more quotable books to have appeared in the English language in recent years

 

 

Kraus KarlKARL KRAUS (1874-1936) was a major influence on the intellectual life of Vienna, whose seminal thinkers and artists have profoundly changed twentieth-century thought. On some of them Kraus’s influence was fundamental. Indeed, as the critic George Steiner recently noted, ‘without Kraus, Wittgenstein’s philosophy might well have been nonexistent.’ Kraus is difficult to classify in any category; he stands unique in world literature. Many critics believe him to be the greatest satirist since Swift; he was also one of the most brilliant aphorists. As a critic of society, in violent opposition to the all-pervading corruption of the spirit in public life, he was without equal. The four contributors to In These Great Times are natives of Vienna. 

 

Harry Zohn is a native of Vienna and currently chairman of the department of Germanic and Slavic languages at Brandeis University, where he has taught since 1951. The many books which he has written or edited include a study of Karl Kraus (1971), and the Austrian reader Der farbenvolle Untergang. Among the works which Professor Zohn has translated may be mentioned The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud’s Delusion and Dream, Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations, Marianne Weber’s Max Weber: A Biography, and selections from the German satirist Kurt Tucholsky. Professor Zohn holds the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit awarded by the Federal Republic of Germany, and is a member of the Austrian P.E.N. Club.

 

 

 

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Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Petry. New York. 1964. Thomas Y. Crowell. hardcover. 256 pages. Jacket by John Wilson. 

 

tituba of salem villageFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   In Salem village in 1692, superstition and hysteria mounted to the climax that we know today as the Salem Witch Trials. A major figure in the trials—indeed, one of the first three ‘witches’ condemned - was Tituba, a slave from Barbados. In this book Ann Petry has brought Tituba alive for us. With controlled narrative skill she has illuminated those harsh Puritan times, and described with mounting tension the widespread belief in witches. As Tituba’s story unfolds, we come close to her as a woman. She had been forced to leave the sunny land of her youth and go as a slave to a cold, dreary New England village, with a greedy and self-seeking master. Tituba’s only fault was that she was more intelligent, more sensitive, and more capable than most of the people around her. To the people of Salem Village, struggling to understand the harsh God who controlled their seasons and their sustenance, the idea of a woman who made a compact with the devil, and then brought harm to others, became an obsession. Tituba’s competence, and the fact that she was both a slave and black, made her particularly vulnerable to suspicion and attack. Ann Petry throws the events of those terrible days into clear, honest focus. She has brought to life each of the participants, so that we understand why they acted as they did. A sense of foreboding, an accumulation of hysteria and terror, fills the narrative. The culmination of the witch trials, in which confession of witchcraft frequently gained acquittal and denial was often taken as evidence of guilt, provides a dramatic and absorbing picture of a community which committed an irreparable evil in the name of their God.

 

 

Petry AnnAnn Petry (born October 12, 1908, died April 28, 1997) was an African American author. Ann Lane was born as the younger of the two daughters to Peter and Bertha Clark in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Her parents belonged to the Black minority of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. The family belonged to the middle-class, and never had to suffer any financial struggles similar to those of many Harlem inhabitants. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin. Only once did Ann experience racial discrimination when she went to school two years early at the age of 4 with her older sister Helen. On their way home, the two sisters were attacked by some white juveniles with stones. After the girls’ uncles took care of this by threatening the wrongdoers the Lane girls were never bothered again. The strong family bonding was a big support for Ann’s self-esteem. Her well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell their nieces when coming home, her ambitious father who overcame racial obstacles when opening his pharmacy in the small town as well as her mother and aunts, set a great example to Ann and Helen to become strong themselves. Petry interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992 says about her tough female family members that ‘it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn’t do because they were women.’ The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: ‘I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to.’ However, Petry decided on a rather stable education and followed the family tradition after finishing high school. She enrolled in college and graduated with a Ph.G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. On February 24, 1938 she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana. This new commitment brought Petry to New York and eventually back to writing. She did not only write articles for newspapers like Amsterdam News, or People’s Voice, and published short stories in the Crisis, but was also engaged at an elementary school in Harlem. It was during this period of her life that she had realized and personally experienced what the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the littered streets of Harlem, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close – Petry’s early years in New York inevitably made painful impressions on her. Deeply impacted by her Harlem experiences, Ann Petry was in the possession of the necessary creative writing skills to bring it to paper. Her daughter Liz explains to the Washington Post that ‘her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book, which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn’t do.’ She wrote her most popular novel The Street in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, the writer worked on Country Place (1947), The Narrows (1953), and some other stories but they have never achieved the same success as her first book. Until her death Petry lived in a representative 18th century house in her hometown, Old Saybrook. Ann Lane Petry died at the age of 88 on 28th April 1997. She was outlived by her only daughter, Liz Petry.

 

 

 

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James Joyce by Italo Svevo. San Francisco. 1950. City Lights Books. Reprinted Paperback Edition after A limited Edition of 1600 numbered copies were privately issued by James Laughlin for the friends and supporters of New Directions.Very Good In Wrappers. unpaginated. paperback. The cover photograph of Joyce is by Man Ray, from The Museum of Modern Art (new York) Collection. That of Svevo (back cover) is from the collection of his widow and shows Svevo in 1892 at the age of 31. 

 

 

james joyce italo svevo city lights 1950FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A lecture delivered in Milan in 1927 on James Joyce by his friend Italo Svevo. In 1912 Italo Svevo met James Joyce, and it is Joyce that we have to thank, not only for calling attention to him at that time, but for persuading him to continue writing.

 

 

Svevo ItaloITALO SVEVO was born in Trieste in 1861 and was given a commercial education in Germany. CONFESSIONS OF ZENO was published in 1923 and was immediately hailed by European critics as the finest Italian novel. At the time of his accidental death in 1928 Svevo was one of   the best known and most successful businessmen in Triesie, though he was only beginning to enjoy fame as a writer. UNA VITA, his first novel, appeared in 1892 and was followed by SENILITA in 1898. In 1912 Italo Svevo met James Joyce, and it is Joyce that we have to thank, not only for calling attention to him at that time, but for persuading him to continue writing. The war kept Svevo away from business and gave him the opportunity. The fact that writing was never his means of livelihood made it possible for him to disregard tradition and slowly develop his own introspective style.  

 

 

 

 

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Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett. New York. 1995. Penguin Books. Edited & With An Introduction and Notes By David Blewett. 480 pages. The cover shows a detail of Lord George Graham in His Cabin by William Hogarth in the National Maritime Museum, London. 9780140433326.

 

9780140433326RODERICK RANDOM was published in 1748 to immediate acclaim, and established Smollett among the most popular of eighteenth-century novelists. In this picaresque tale, Roderick Random suffers misfortune after misfortune as he drifts from one pummeling to another and he still somehow manages to keep his brand of fatalistic good humor.  

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Narrated by an unheroic, apparently rudderless hero named Random, Smollett's wildly energetic and entertaining novel is held together not least by the narrator's outrage and dismay. Although RODERICK RANDOM was first published anonymously, the secret of Smollett's authorship was soon discovered, with the result that many readers thought they recognized similarities between the life of the hero and that of his creator. Certainly Roderick Random's early years - disinherited and without wealth and influence - and his university career, apprenticeship and service as a naval surgeon, vividly reflect the experiences of the author. How Random learns to survive the fickle hand of fortune, recovers his long-lost father, marries his beloved Narcissa, and dispatches his enemies is the stuff, not of autobiography, but of a novel which profoundly satirizes the moral chaos of its times. Dickens and Thackeray, among other great Victorians, applauded Smollett for his wit and invention, and in RODERICK RANDOM we enjoySmollett Tobias the novel of a pioneer opening up the frontiers of fiction.

 

 

 

Tobias George Smollett (19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), which influenced later novelists such as Charles Dickens. George Orwell admired Smollett very much. His novels were amended liberally by printers; a definitive edition of each of his works was edited by Dr. O. M. Brack, Jr. to correct variants.

 

 

 

 

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The Republic Of Dreams by Nelida Pinon. New York. 1989. Knopf. 663 pages. July 1989. hardcover. 0394555252. Jacket illustration by Steven Rydberg. Jacket design by Carol Devine Carson. Translated from the Portuguese by Helen Lane. (original title: Republica dos sonhos, 1984 - Livraria Francisco Alves Editora S/A, Rio de Janeiro).

 

0394555252FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   This huge, mesmeric novel marks the debut in English of one of the most brilliant and admired of today’s Latin American writers. It is a novel that brings before the reader four generations of a family torn between its Spanish past and its Brazilian present. It is a revelation of the complexities and astonishments not only of family life but of Brazil itself - a revelation also of the power of storytelling and the nature of dreaming. As the novel opens, the matriarch Eulália has begun her final task - the task of dying. Long, long ago, when she first came to Brazil from Spain, a young bride with her young and already formidable, iron-willed husband, Madruga, they brought with them the passion, inspired by Grandfather Xan, for making memories into tales -tales told as sustenance, proof, and hallmark, tales told as protection against the killing rush of time. Now, as both Eulália and her era near their end, that tradition achieves its most poignant flowering-in a burst of family lore, recrimination, and recollected dreams, as the clan, gathered at Eulália’s side, relives the past and vies for the future. Madruga - founder of the family in Brazil - is the central figure not only of his own stories but of almost everyone else’s, as he is of their lives. His reminiscences have the sweep and drama of history. His authority and - equally despotic - his love have shaped the lives of all his five children. His granddaughter Breta, whom he has chosen as heir to his greatest treasure-his memory-sees the family as ‘stubbornly programming the life of its members’ so as to justify Madruga’s desertion, decades before, of their ancestral Spain. His fellow émigré Venâncio-the historian, the dreamer (in counterpoint to Madruga’s colonizer- industrialist)-feels unfit to live in the reality forged by men like his old friend. Through the recollections- unfolding in layers, moving backward and forward across the century - of Madruga and those connected to him by blood or circumstances, a stunning dynastic drama is played out. At the same time, Nélida Piñon’s magnificent novel invites us to experience each of its two realms - the new world of Brazil, infatuated with what is to come while longing for what is lost, and the interior world of fantasy, remembrance, and emotion in which we all live - as a republic of dreams.

 

 

Pinon NelidaNélida Piñon (born May 3, 1937) is a Brazilian writer. Born in Rio de Janeiro of Galician immigrants. Her first novel was Guia-Mapa de Gabriel Arcanjo (The Guidebook of Archangel Gabriel), written in 1961, it concerns a protagonist discussing Christian doctrine with her guardian angel. In the 1970s she became noted for erotic novels A casa de paixão (The House of Passion) and A força do destino (The Force of Destiny), written in 1977. In 1984 she perhaps had her greatest success with A Republica dos Sonhos, English translation The Republic of Dreams. The work involves generations of a family from Galicia who emigrated to Brazil. This relates to her own family's experience. She is a former President of Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters).

 

 

 

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  • Country Place by Ann Petry

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 03:26 am

    Country Place by Ann Petry Country Place by Ann Petry. Boston. 1947. Houghton Mifflin. 266 pages. Cover: Paul Sample.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -     With all the compassionate insight into human beings for which she is noted, Ann Petry exposes the hypocrisies of a tranquil New England town in this dramatic story of a war veteran who searches to find out whether his wife has been unfaithful. ‘Gossip, malice, infidelity, murder. . . are some of the dominant matters treated in Country Place.’[…]

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  • The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 03:23 am

    The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul. New York. 1997. Free Press. 199 pages. Jacket design by Tom Stvan. Jacket photograph by Philip Wallick/PPD International. Author photograph by Beverley Rockett. 0684832577. January 1997.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -        Civilizations, like individuals, are often blinded to their true character by sentiment and ideology - and ours is perhaps the most glaring example. In a powerful meditation already hailed as ‘the best work of popular philosophizing produced in this[…]

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  • The Narrows by Ann Petry

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 03:21 am

    The Narrows by Ann Petry The Narrows by Ann Petry. Boston. 1953. Houghton Mifflin. 428 pages.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -        Originally published in 1953, The Narrows spins the unforgettable tale of a forbidden love affair between Link Williams, a college-educated twenty-six-year-old black man, and Camilo Sheffield, a wealthy married white woman. Set in the sleepy New England town of Monmouth, Connecticut, and 'filled with dramatic force, earthy humor, and tragic intensity', this classic novel deftly evokes a divisive era in America's[…]

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  • Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 02:22 am

    Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois. New York. 1938. Harcourt Brace & Company. 746 pages. March 1938.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -      A distinguished scholar introduces the pioneering work in the study of the role of black Americans during the Reconstruction by the most gifted and influential black intellectual of his time. BLACK RECONSTRUCTION IN AMERICA is a book by W. E. B. Du Bois, first published in 1935. It is revisionist approach[…]

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  • Incantations & Other Stories by Anjana Appachana

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 02:11 am

    Incantations & Other Stories by Anjana Appachana Incantations & Other Stories by Anjana Appachana. New Brunswick. 1992. Rutgers University Press. 150 pages. Cover photograph by Kasha Dalal. Cover design by the Senate. 0813518288.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -        This first collection of fiction by Anjana Appachana provides stories that are beautifully written, the characters in them carefully and respectfully drawn. All the stories are set in India, but the people in them seem somehow displaced within their own society—a society in transition but a[…]

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  • The Street by Ann Petry

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 21, 2011 | 00:20 am

    The Street by Ann Petry  The Street by Ann Petry. Boston. 1946. Houghton Mifflin. A Literary Fellowship Prize 1st Novel. 436 pages.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -      THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved[…]

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  • Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 20, 2011 | 23:59 pm

    Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett. New York. 1995. Penguin Books. Edited & With An Introduction and Notes By David Blewett. 480 pages. The cover shows a detail of Lord George Graham in His Cabin by William Hogarth in the National Maritime Museum, London. 9780140433326.   RODERICK RANDOM was published in 1748 to immediate acclaim, and established Smollett among the most popular of eighteenth-century novelists. In this picaresque tale, Roderick Random suffers misfortune after misfortune as he drifts from one pummeling to another[…]

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  • Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship Of Reason In The West by John Ralston Saul

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks Nov 20, 2011 | 23:50 pm

    Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship Of Reason In The West by John Ralston Saul Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship Of Reason In The West by John Ralston Saul. New York. 1992. Free Press. 640 pages. Cover design by Michael Langenstein. 0029277256.   The pitfalls of rationalism and and the rise of bureaucracy.   FROM THE PUBLISHER -        In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion. Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly[…]

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